There’s something so gratifying about growing your own plants. This is particularly the case with herbs. They’re handy to have in the kitchen, as you can easily reach over and grab a sprig of thyme or basil leaves, whenever you want to add some flavour to your cooking.
Best of all, they’re the eco-friendly way to cook – and a much better option than purchasing plastic-wrapped herbs from the supermarket.
Here’s how to get started.
Growing a herb garden – tips
The first thing to do is work out what you’d like to have in your dream herb garden. Ask yourself the following:
- What do you use the most in cooking?
- What smells the nicest? (Herbs are a great way to reduce odours in the kitchen).
- Will you be using them for other things too? (More on this later…).
Next, you’ll need to establish which area you’ll be growing the herbs in. A window-ledge is the ideal spot, as it’ll get plenty of sunlight.
You can grow herbs from seed, but if you want the easier option, buy them in seedling form. They’re more likely to flourish then, especially if you’re new to growing plants!
Planting your herbs
Most herbs like longer pots, so they can spread their roots. When you’re planting them, make sure you use well-drained compost, and never over-water your herbs – they don’t like to be water-logged.
Be aware, some herbs (like mint) require re-potting, while others, like sage, can last for ages in the same pot.
Caring for your herbs
Herbs are so easy to look after. On average, expect to have to water them every two to three days. This might increase if it’s warm weather. Many herbs grow better if you prune them regularly. This is as simple as making sure you use them often!
Uses for herbs
We all know how great herbs are for cooking – they liven up any meal. They can also be used for other things too, such as:
- Making tea. Chamomile and mint are two great plants for adding to tea. Simply add the leaves to an infuser, then let them sit in hot water for a while. Mint is great for digestion, while chamomile can assist sleep.
- Creating perfumes. How are perfumes made, I hear you ask? Well, often, they feature herbs! Simply combine in a jar with other ingredients like vanilla beans, citrus zest and vodka (yes, really), then leave them for up to six weeks. Strain out the pieces afterwards, then use the resulting liquid as a perfume – it’s that easy.
- Making infused oils. If you love salad dressing, you’ll love this idea. Pour some olive or hemp oil into a smaller jar or bottle, then add some of your favourite herbs. Leave in a dark, cool place for a week or two, then pour it over your salads. It’s your own personal, delicious flavoured salad dressing.
Start by growing just a few herbs, and then when you get more confident, extend your collection. And most of all – have fun!
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